What’s a Reel Old Book?

A reel old book is a older book that was adapted to film quite some time ago. Perhaps the book and film are classics if we define classic as simply old. Many of the books I review here, though, are out-of-print, non-essential books that would be forgotten if not for film adaptations that air periodically on TCM.

In this blog, I review old books that may not be bona fide classics but were popular when they were first published AND have been adapted for film at some point.

1. Why these books?

It’s a matter of “so many books, so little time.”  For as often as someone’s told me, “You’ll love this popular book/author/series,” I’ve wondered why I would want to read something that everyone else is reading.  I’m not saying that popular books are bad because they’ve been lauded by critics or the masses.  I’m not even saying that I wouldn’t enjoy them.

I don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone else, even in terms of reading tastes.  And there’s nothing like a $1 library book fair find that’s missing its jacket, smells funny, and has someone else’s Ex Libris stamp on the inside cover.  It’s a much better deal than a $25 new release from Barnes and Noble.  Plus the stories are set in a different time and place– and, more importantly, they were written in one.

2. Why books that were adapted for film?

I love old movies as much as I love old books.  There are a lot of bestsellers adapted for film in the 30s and 40s (no different from today), and I like to celebrate the connection.

If you are tired of what’s all the rage now, if you are interested in what entertained, shocked, and inspired a few past generations, if you just saw a movie and want to find out if the book is worth a read, if you are going through some books and are tempted to try them out before donating them to a thrift store, good for you!  I hope you find this blog helpful.


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